SAMEER S KASSIM, GURLEEN BHATIA and ZEESHAN IJAZ present an inside look at Bahrain’s first university teaching hospital.

The students at the RCSI-Medical University of Bahrain (MUB) have been unusually fortunate in that they have had the privilege to witness the opening of their university and their new university teaching hospital. We were given the unique opportunity to interview the RCSI Commissioning Team leaders in Bahrain and talk with them about the development of the King Hamad General Hospital (KHGH). There is currently only one large government-run secondary care hospital in Bahrain and the KHGH will help to meet the increasing demand for healthcare services. It will also increase the capacity for training medical and nursing students from the RCSI-MUB and other universities in the country.1

Planning for the KHGH began with a feasibility study, and the master plan was drawn up by the French hospital consultant agency INGEROP. The Australian Hospital Design Group was then contracted to finalise the hospital infrastructure in December 2003.2 The facility design was defined by the RCSI Clinical Working Group under the direction of Professor Cathal Kelly and the Bahraini Government, and was to become RCSI-MUB’s main teaching site. Thus, the KHGH will be a specialised facility for the delivery of state- of-the-art healthcare, teaching and research, as well as fulfilling the national agenda defined in Bahrain Vision 2030.3,4 The scope of the RCSI Commissioning Team is to oversee design, construction and post-construction of the new facility.5 The Team also acts as an intermediary between other agencies involved in specific aspects of development, and equipment and service suppliers. It must balance the needs of the hospital’s sponsors with the need to implement health services that meet standards of best practice. This helps to ensure that the most recent hospital service models and guidelines are applied, thus meeting the international standards for hospital care should the institution choose to seek international accreditation.5,6 In the final phase, the Commissioning Team guides the hospital management team to ensure that those processes designed for the hospital are implemented as intended.5 The estimated building cost of the hospital is an impressive 100,000,000 Bahraini Dinars (€180,000,000).2 The complex will cover 64,000m2 and consist of three four-storey buildings linked by enclosed courtyards, containing 312 secondary care beds, and situated adjacent to the RCSI-MUB campus in Busaiteen. It will also have several specialty units including obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, ophthalmology, ENT, accident and emergency, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, outpatient facilities and an intensive care unit. The maternity unit will replace the current facilities in Muharraq.1,2
In addition to providing hospital services, the KHGH will also provide teaching facilities for medical and nursing students from the RCSI-MUB and other universities. It will provide a 200-seat lecture theatre, conference rooms for faculty and students, and strong information technology infrastructure similar to that provided at the RCSI-MUB campus.1,2
The hospital will be accredited by Accreditation Canada, which will help to improve the safety and quality of services delivered to patients. In order to meet the external standards, the RCSI Commissioning Team worked to establish clear evidence-based protocols for all aspects of hospital activity, ranging from patient management to waste disposal.
The accreditation process at the KHGH will take three years to complete and the process will begin after one year of hospital operations. During this time, hospital management and staff will also collaborate to identify key strengths and weaknesses. The Canadian approach to accreditation is a rigorous peer review process comprising self- assessment against a set of standards, an on-site survey, and follow-up action on recommendations made in the survey.7,8

The challenges for the RCSI Commissioning Team will continue as they review the newly implemented policies and management procedures. This is an ongoing process and the Team’s evaluation will feed directly into the accreditation process. The faculty and students are anxiously awaiting their new facility and the RCSI continues to grow as an international clinical cohort.

The authors offer their sincere thanks to Professor Niall O’Higgins (Chair, Department of Surgery, RCSI-Bahrain) for his help and support. We would also like to thank Marian Noone (Director, RCSI Hospital Projects Board) and Olive Schmidt-Flynn (Project Director Commissioning) for the opportunity to talk about the KHGH project.


  1. King Hamad General Hospital at Muharraq. Manama: Ministry of Works, Kingdom of Bahrain, 2009. Updated 2009. Cited May 30, 2009. Available from:
  2. King Hamad General Hospital. Manama: Health Information Directorate; 2009. Updated 2009. Cited May 30, 2009. Available from:
  3. Kingdom of Bahrain. From Regional Pioneer to Global Contender: The Economic Vision 2030 for Bahrain, 2009.
  4. Iglehart JK. The American healthcare system. Teaching hospitals. New Engl J Med 1993; 329 (14): 1052-6.
  5. Toombs KE (ed.). Commissioning Hospital Construction. National Conference on Building Commissioning: May 2-4, 2007; Chicago, Il, USA. Portland Energy Conservation, Inc.
  6. Chappel D, Miller P, Parkin D, Thomson R. Models of commissioning health services in the British National Health Service: a literature review. J Pub Health Med 1999; 21 (2): 221-7.
  7. Morrow L. Preparing for a successful accreditation: strategies for engaging staff. Journal (serial on the Internet), 2009 Date; 2.
  8. Robblee JA, Heidemann EG. Hospital accreditation and the surgeon: the Canadian experience. Surgeon 2004; 2 (6): 321-6.

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